... Mittlerer Zugkraftwagen 8t, new from MMP Books
Title: Sdkfz 7
Author: Alan Ranger
Publisher: Stratus Books/MMP
Number 2 of the 'Camera On' series of books from MMP tackles on of the best German military vehicles to have been used in WW2. This 8ton half-track follows on from the lighter 5ton Sdkfz 6 which was the subject of the first book in this new series. The final four pages are the same in both books, using comparison pictures to identify the different half-track types as there are a number of visual similarities which this will help you with.
It starts with a few pages of introductory text detailing the development of the first examples by Kraus Maffai AG as early as 1933/34 and modifications before the main production expanded after 1937. It goes on to give the production numbers for each of the 4 main manufacturers. The Sdkfz 7 served in all the theatres where the Wehrmacht saw service during the war, and it lists the 10 different production variants. It was produced under licence in Italy, and it goes on to tell how captured examples from North Africa were shipped back to the UK where Vauxhall motors built a couple of copies and consideration was given to building our own version.
Then comes the bulk of the book, and another 77 pages of good quality archive photos which illustrate the Sdkfz 7 in service on the various fronts through to the end of the war.
The first section looks at the pre-war examples, which did have an earlier pattern of bodywork that makes them quite distinctive, the KM m 8 version 1934, and this is followed by another section on the 1935 version. Seeing them being used pre-war on training exercises and providing useful training for their crews in their primary use as artillery tractors. Then comes a section dealing with the KM m 9 and 10, which had a more powerful engine and the changed bodywork that is perhaps the most familiar. They are seen in use as artillery tractors with a variety of guns, from the 88mm Flak 18/36 to the 15cm sFH18 which it could tow as a complete piece. The large 17cm K18 is also illustrated, where the carriage had to be towed separate to the gun barrel, which was removed and carried on a trailer as a separate load. The last section features the KM m 11 and the HL m 11 versions.
The photos are largely from individual's personal collections so there are a fair few which show them as a backdrop to the poses of their crews. We also see them in different ground conditions, towing a mix of loads and in maintenance, bridging or with battle damage. All this detail will be welcomed by modellers in particular and there are lots of ideas for diorama settings as well. All the photos have helpful captions as well. This is another fine photo reference and with some good models of them on the market these days, in a variety of scales, this should be popular reference. Definitely one for your bookshelf.
Thanks to MMP Books, who kindly provided my review copy.